At least there's some electricity: Top ANC KZN leader says SA's doing well despite load shedding

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Bheki Mtolo, ANC secretary general in KwaZulu-Natal. Photo: Dean Vivier
Bheki Mtolo, ANC secretary general in KwaZulu-Natal. Photo: Dean Vivier
  • ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Bheki Mtolo says while load shedding is a problem, the country is better off now than during apartheid.
  • Mtolo says while some areas only get electricity for a few hours a day under load shedding, they had no electricity during apartheid.
  • He says the public was fed lies about South Africa before democracy.

One of the top ANC leaders in KwaZulu-Natal says that while load shedding is a problem, some South Africans are better off now than they were under the apartheid government.

Speaking about load shedding during a press briefing following a provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting on Monday, provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo talked about how there were no complaints about load shedding when he visited his home village in Umzimkhulu in KZN's Harry Gwala District.

In a rant that lasted over 20 minutes, Mtolo said that while many in his village complained about other issues, they were not irate about load shedding, because at least they received electricity - even though it was in small bouts.

"I thought they would speak about load shedding. I probed them about load shedding because they did not speak about it."

Mtolo alleged that residents said that even with load shedding, they get electricity a few hours a day.

"People can see that this load shedding is better than what they [had] under apartheid, and they appreciate that."

READ | Cape Town to pay cash for electricity – with aim to cut load shedding by 4 stages

He said Umzimkhulu was "nothing" and was built up in the last 15 years.

Mtolo said large houses were demolished by the apartheid government, but not during democracy.

"Who came in and did that [demolished houses]? It was the apartheid government. But if you go to townships and rural areas now, people are building mansions. They are not just working, they are getting better salaries," he said.

Mtolo added that apartheid limited black families to hostels.

"They could not send their children to schools. You are told lies every day and you believe them. When you are told we built nothing, you believe this."

He said that tarred roads were seen for the first time in rural KZN because of the ANC-run government. He, however, did not address the poor quality of roads.

Speaking of the proposed 18.65% tariff increase proposed by national energy regulator Nersa, Mtolo said the ANC in KZN "unanimously rejected the implementation".

Among the reasons for rejecting the increase include:

  • The negative economic conditions that look set to impose hardships on millions of people in KZN;
  • Rising electricity tariffs have heightened the public’s fears and anxiety;
  • Confidence in the ANC-government elected by the people has been undermined; and
  • A growing number of forecasts have revealed rising food prices.

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